Vern Charles Williams
June 5, 1956 - March 2, 2020


ern Charles Williams was born June 5, 1956 in Flushing NY. He was named after his uncle LaVern (Peewee) Johnson and his father, James Charles Williams.

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I was older than him by a year. We had two other sisters. I wrote about where we lived in another story. Our home was in a medium sized housing project, James A. Bland Housing, in Flushing, near the Flushing River and later, the 1964-1965 New York Worlds Fair. The Queens Botanical Garden was (and remains) a beautiful facility within walking distance.

Vern and Allison in the James A. Bland Housing Projects, year unknown.

Vern and Allison in the James A. Bland Housing Projects, year unknown.

Tracey; Vern, and Allison on the Staten Island Ferry, 1963.

He broke his leg playing football, his passion.

Vern, member of Omega Si Phi fraternity, Inc. at Johnson C. Smith University.

Vern at Kimberly's and Carlos' wedding, 1997.

Uncle LaVern (Peewee) Johnson (Vern's namesake), left, and our late Uncle Martin Johnson, right, on the day of Kimberly's and Carlos' wedding.

In 2017, experiencing atrial fibrillation; sclerosis, and fluid retention.

This condition, fluid retention, is due to sclerosis. I was called by the hospital and told he was in emergency. His speech was limited. The oxygen was to ensure he got as much as necessary given the weight of the fluids on his lungs,  limiting how much breathing he could do.

He returned to skinny after the drainage process using a needle pulling retained fluid from his body. "I feel fine," he would say.

Thought by Allison L. Williams Hill

This condition happened more than once. He would not tell my sister or me that he could not afford the medication to help regulate it. Walmart would not accept his insurance.  He chose to go without.Vern would gain so much weight from the retention that he could not walk. I am grateful for where he lived; other tenants were available to ensure that he received emergency medical treatment.

Repetitive fluid retention damages other organs not used to the weight. At one emergency hospital admission, fifteen of fluid was removed. Vern was given a local anesthetic, however, the insertion of the needle to draw the fluid out was nevertheless painful. He developed floating hernias that were threatening to become a problem.

Before another emergency transport, Vern's belly button burst and the fluid ran out of his body in his room. 

Vern's Illnesses

This day, November 7, 2019,  was the day after a surgical attempt to biopsy a part of Vern's brain where 2 tumors developed. I spoke with surgeons before the operation; we were of the same mind in that the tumors were caused by cancerous lung cells that matastisized. It was never proven. His heart stopped when the surgeons successfully removed a part of his skull. They closed him up and immediately massaged his heart.   Vern was rushed into CCU. A kidney specialist monitored his fluids to make sure Vern would not need dialysis. During my visit, I was met by a Dr. Orhi who was insistent that no one ever recovers from lung cancer. I did not care to engage her about what I heard about, for example, what Dr. Gary Null has achieved with people. It was through his show I heard about Dr. Jonathan Wright's Tahoma Clinic's success in bringing people back from terminal cancer diagnoses. My thoughts were focused on helping my brother heal.

The Question by Allison L. Williams Hill

Vern's Memorial Service

Mom said she wanted the memorial service to be of love, warmth, and family.

Grew up in Flushing, Queens in the James A. Bland Housing Projects near the Flushing River, Shea Stadium, and the location of the 1964-65 World’s Fair.

Vern attended the James A. Bland nursery school, where his youngest sister, Kim, earned the honor as the first escapee. At Public School 20 he didn’t have an interest in reading… until he discovered Marvel and DC comic books.  He amassed an awesome collection but they were read and not in pristine condition that collectors coveted. He attended Junior High School 189, and Flushing High School.

He went to Francis Lewis High for additional studies. Mom did that.

He was gaining weight, Mom sent him to the local Y to play basketball. He was really good.

He played football at Flushing High, broke his leg, ending a possible career in sports. The cast was up to his hip. Because of his activity, one of his sisters developed an interest in watching football.

Vern left New York for Johnson C. Smith University for computer science and technology.

Vern's Work

He returned to New York.

He began working for American Airlines as an international security coordinator.

He had to sign an NDA to not discuss for five years what he experienced in that position. He honored that but what he saw would make an interesting read. Illegal drug smuggling was the main focus of his responsibilities. Vern was able to identify drug smugglers by how they traveled. Other drug smugglers used animals and humans to import contraband into the US. Vern was identifying people who were traveling immediately after surgery – their buttocks or thighs were stuffed with drugs packets. These people traveled with little or no anesthesia to not interfere with their ability to walk. Some of these people were fearful of being caught and made mistakes. One woman, he shared, left her luggage filled with drugs in the ladies’ restroom- her name tag attached. Vern was visited by DEA agents who knew who he was. They shook his hand and commended his work. He never knew their names. 

Vern's Later Years

Vern’s health began to wane over several years to the point he retired. His life became enjoying football to the fullest extent possible and playing the lottery.

Vern prayed a lot. He prayed for our stepfather, a man who did little to make Vern feel like he belonged in this world. He attempted to rearrange Vern's body one night. Mom sat next to his bed with a bag of ice cubes wrapped in a towel to diminish the swellings on his face after he cried himself to sleep. It was the first time I ever saw Mom cry.

I was ten years old when this happened. Sometimes, I felt he thought that he had to hurt my brother to teach him lessons. Regardless, I felt I should have stood up to this man, simultaneously feeling helpless. He was tall and morbidly obese. He died weighing 680 pounds.

I included "Merge with Jesus" on the back of the program to aid meditation.

Vern's Watch Collection

Vern needed good watches at his job in security at JFK Airport. I have not checked to see if any or all of them work.




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